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Insight:

The pain of organizational silos

Summary
  • Business has been discussing solutions with IT instead of focusing on describing the real business challenge at hand. This leads to lost business intent and a more complex IT landscape than necessary. There is a need for a a common language and understanding of current challenges and future goals. Technical skills needs to be incorporated into the business units to work towards common goals with IT.

While reading this article, billions of dollars has been spent in missed opportunities because business and IT still hasn’t agreed on the terms for effective collaboration


For the last 10-15 years, the business has been discussing solutions and applications – Why? Because it is easy or because that’s what they believe IT wants to hear? Regardless of the reason behind this phenomenon, it is not working very well for a few simple reasons:

  • It cuts the line to the business intent, disregarding or losing the real reason behind the need. 
  • Without pin-pointing the real issue and narrowing the scope you run the risk of oversizing the solution and end up with duplicate systems and redundant information.
  • This undermine the IT organization and its IT roadmap and can result in a more complex IT landscape and further weaken the relationship and future collaboration.

We need to rethink this silo mind-set by first looking at the current relationship between business and IT. In order to have a productive discussion or work together you need a common goal, a joint business intent and a common language.

The biggest commonality between business and IT and in fact all organizations within a company is information. Everything anyone do includes using information at hand, adding value to it and passing it forward. If you need a new application, what you really need is improved quality, availability or speed of information. Imagine expressing your need in a simple manner, pin-pointing the real problem. The chances of fixing the root cause of the problem in the most efficient way has suddenly increased exponentially.
It is like going to the doctor asking for a specific drug, which comes with a lot of potential side-effects when all you really needed was some time of the screen and water. Describing a business challenge by using information is not only the most productive way forward, it most definitely assures you from any unwanted side-effects.

Long term:

  • Bridge the silos by incorporating technical skills and knowledge to your business development unit, preferably with people from your IT organization. This way you can work towards common goals and be true to your business intent.

Short term:

  • Introduce a common language using information, information architecture standards and governance to describe and explain the value and challenges of your business most valuable asset – information.
  • Conduct collectively intelligent discussions by avoiding talking about solutions and applications and by making sure everyone has a common understanding of the challenge and the goal of the future state.

Peder Landberg